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Regarding Washington Post columnist Robert J. Samuelson’s article “It’s time U.S. dropped the college-for-all crusade,” which ran in The Japan Times on May 30: What Samuelson calls the largest mistake in educational policy since World War II was actually first identified in 1963 by John Keats in “The Sheepskin Psychosis.” He correctly pointed out that college is merely the most convenient place to learn how to learn. It is not an absolute determinant.

Keats understood that education and training are not the same thing. The former is concerned with concepts, while the latter is concerned with techniques. Although they sometimes overlap, they should not be confused if students are to be well served.

In arguing that the public was wildly oversold about college, Keats was dismissed as being out of touch. Only now, however, are his views finally validated.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

walt gardner

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